UK,IRELAND: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party lost control of traditional strongholds in London and suffered losses elsewhere in local elections, early results on Friday showed, as voters punished his government over a raft of scandals.
Johnson’s party was ousted in Wandsworth, a low-tax Conservative stronghold since 1978, part of a trend in the British capital where voters used the elections to express anger over a cost-of-living crisis and fines imposed on the prime minister for breaking his own COVID-19 lockdown rules.
The Conservatives lost control of the borough of Barnet, which has been held by the party in all but two elections since 1964. Labour also believes it has won for the first time the council of Westminster, a district where most government institutions are located. Early results showed the Conservative Party had lost 92 council seats. The main opposition Labour Party had gained 23 seat and the Liberal Democrats 42 seats.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill yesterday acclaimed a “new era” for Northern Ireland as her Irish nationalist party handed a historic election defeat to pro-UK unionists who had monopolised power for decades.
Once the political wing of the paramilitary IRA, Sinn Fein won enough seats in the devolved legislature to nominate O’Neill as first minister — a century after Northern Ireland was carved out as a Protestant fiefdom under British rule.
With 88 of 90 seats filled from Thursday’s proportional voting, Sinn Fein was assured of 27 seats in the Stormont assembly, ahead of the DUP on a maximum of 25 and the cross-community Alliance party on 17.
– THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, THE MALAY MAIL